I absolutely LOVED this wonderful contemporary romance series by Emily Dana Botrous! I first learned about Emily when I was in a promotion with her. I started with the Prequel: Hugs and Kisses, Charity, but the books in this series can be read in any order and they are all delightful, heartwarming, clean reads.
About the Series
The Scripted Love series is a Christian romance series set along the shores of Lake Michigan. Join the Halverson siblings as they grow their faith and find love through the written word.
Two workplace rivals, one competition. But can he win her heart?
Two best friends and the chance to choose love over fear.
A man who doesn’t trust women, the frustratingly wonderful woman who works for him, and the words that change everything.
A lonely single dad. A young influencer in need of counsel. Is their age difference a divide too big to bridge this Christmas?
What I Loved About the Series
I loved how well developed Ben and Charity's characters were. I could relate to both of them and enjoyed reading how these enemies/competitors fell in love.
Even as each character grew, the author consistently relayed their insecurities to a delightful conclusion.
I love the way Emily Dana Botrous chose to show God's love to the broken Melody through the timid TJ. As TJ grew, he exhibited Christ-like qualities despite his own failures. The unrequited love provided the perfect set up for this sweet, clean romance between two flawed, but growing characters.
This enemies to sweethearts clean romance had me turning pages late into the night. I loved how both Lucy and Silas were challenged to adjust their attitudes and become examples of their faith in difficult relationships. I really appreciate that Emily Dana Botrous writes about imperfect Christians who learn to grow in their application of their faith. None of us is perfect and it is refreshing to read realistic characters whose stories encourage me in my own walk.
Emily Dana Botrous delivered an amazing Biblically based, gracious perspective about the trials of living with depression. I immediately identified with the ambitious over-achieving Joy. The face she portrayed to the world was far different from the dark reality of her struggle with depression. Her family tried to be supportive. Sometimes they got it right and sometimes they didn't.
Even though the Emily Dana Botrous tackles some rough topics like depression, feeling unworthy, and a big age-gap, the story did not feel overwhelming or too heavy. She balanced these with an appropriate amount of hope, love, and growth.
You MUST read this story. It's a sweet, clean romance with wonderful examples of how to live with depression or around those who suffer from it.
About the Author
Emily Dana Botrous lives in San Diego, California with her husband and their four children. She lived in 10 states before she settled on the West Coast where she plans to stay for awhile. She started writing short stories at age 10 and studied English in college. The only thing she enjoys more than writing is motherhood. While there are a lot of things that matter to Emily, nothing is more important to her than Jesus Christ. It is her goal to point anyone who reads her writing toward Him. When Emily isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, long walks, music, and playing with her kids. "A New Shade of Paint" is her first book.
Connect with Emily on the web at: http://emilydanabotrous.com/
Interview with Emily
1. When you're not busy writing, what do you like to do for fun?
I love going for long walks, baking, cooking, and quite naturally, reading. I also play piano, both by ear and by sight, but neither one well. I have two step-sons aged 18 and 14, my daughter is turning eight in a few short weeks, and my son is five. So most “free” time goes to them.
2. Ben Halverson from the prequel was my favorite Halverson sibling. I love a good prodigal. Which one is your favorite and why?
I’m so glad Ben has a story! He wasn’t supposed to, since I started the series with him already married. Originally Scripted Love was meant to be a three-book series, and I had each one vaguely planned and titled from the get-go. But while writing With All My Heart, Joy and bringing Ben’s character into the story, I knew I had to write his own story. Hugs and Kisses, Charity ended up being one of my favorite books yet.
It’s really hard for an author to pick a favorite. There are special things about each character. But I think both Joy Halverson and Isaac Miller are my favorites because I identify with them the most. Joy has depression, as do I (more on that below), and since I have an age-gap marriage with a 12-year difference, the fears and uncertainties of both Joy and Isaac were drawn from real-life experience.
3. What inspired the Scripted Love Series?
I wrote With Love, Melody first. It was supposed to be a short, tropey novella with less faith that would hopefully sell better than my previous series. God set me straight partway through, and it became significantly longer with a lot more depth and tougher issues than I had ever imagined—and lots of faith. I chose the setting, along Lake Michigan, because I used to live in Michigan and love the state.
4. What was the hardest part about writing the Scripted Love Series?
Finding reasonable ways to weave the written communication into the storyline was quite challenging at times. It forced me to think outside the box more than I expected.
5. In this series, you presented several fun twists on the lost art of letter writing, which I absolutely loved! What was the motivation behind this or did it just happen and you went with it?
It was planned from the beginning. I just thought it would be a fun element to add, and decided from the beginning that book 1 would have instant messages, book 2 would have secret admirer notes, and book 3 would have Christmas cards. When I planned a prequel as well, I decided on emails, and now in book 4, which I am currently writing, the medium is sticky notes (and maybe some longer notes…it’s still in process!).
I have loved written communication since I was young. As a ten-year-old, I had numerous pen pals from around the country and even some international ones. In high school I got a for-real secret admirer’s note (which was cool until I discovered a friend got one too—from the same guy). My husband and I had a long-distance relationship for one year before we were married, and that involved a lot of text messages and Facebook messages, as well as hand-written snail-mail cards. Maybe letter writing is in my blood.
6. In With All My Heart, Joy you really dug into the topic of depression with a strong Biblical perspective. What was the motivation or inspiration for writing about this difficult topic? Is there anything you want to share to encourage readers who might be facing depression or is close to someone who is?
With All My Heart, Joy I was inspired by my own experience. I was clinically diagnosed with depression at age 16. Depression and anxiety are soul-sucking, joy-stealing, exhausting conditions. But they don’t have to be the end. And they absolutely are not a reflection of one’s Christianity or faith. One of the most hurtful things that sometimes happens within the Christian community is for people to brush aside emotional health issues because, “You have Jesus; how can you be depressed?” With Joy’s story, I wanted to attack this harmful mentality and show that God truly has a heart of compassion for those who suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health challenges. He alone understands why we go through the darkness, and this solidarity can bind us closer to Him than ever. If you feel unworthy of Him because of your mental health, remember this one thing: He died for YOU. He gives you worth. Your depression does not define you. GOD DOES.
(Can you tell I am passionate about this topic?!)
7. What can readers look forward to next?
I wish I knew! I hoped to release the fourth and final book in the Scripted Love series, Always and Forever, Elizabeth in October. Then I pushed it back to November. Now I’m looking at December and even that will take miracles. Why? Because my youngest went to Kindergarten in August and this dutiful mom returned to the full-time workforce after five years of very easy flexible part-time work at home. The adjustment has been brutal for me (and isn’t over), and my writing time has become extremely limited. Which means I may be releasing a fall-themed book in winter or spring. But it’s not the end of the world. I just hate making readers wait longer for Victor and Elizabeth’s story. Since the date is up in the air, there is still no pre-order, but I’ll tell you it is a second-chance, marriage-of-convenience, nanny for the doctor storyline. I love what I’ve written so far, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Emily, thanks so much for joining me today and sharing your passion for writing with my readers.
Other Books By Emily Dana Botrous
Hometown Holiday Heartstings Series
The Trouble With Tulips
The Fault in Firelight
The Miracle of Mistletoe
The Loophole in Lilies
The Promise of Picnics
Family Fruits of Faith Series
A New Shade of Paint
The Art of Messing Up
A Portrait without Fear